The World’s Fight for Elephants

Within the past three years, 100,000 elephants were killed, mutilated, and stripped of their ivory tusks. Everyday, poachers are looking for more. In 2011, one out of every twelve elephants was killed. Because of these illegal killings, Africa’s population of elephants has decreased 64% over the past decade. The illegal killings of these creatures has caused a worldwide outreach to stop it. A company called Ivory Ella was created last year by five entrepreneurs with a mission; to save elephants all over the world.

Ivory Ella makes clothes advertising their message to all. They make clothes in an effort to bring all people together and lead them to support their community. Ivory Ella donates 10% of their net profits to Save the Elephants, and organization built on the goal of putting an end to the illegal killing of elephants. On every shirt, the company shows their logo, along with a patterned elephant on the back. This aids in their mission to spread the word about elephants, and help protect them.

Image result for ivory ella shirts

In my opinion, Ivory Ella’s mission is imperative toward saving the population of elephants in our world. Without their support and donations, the amount of African elephants left would be a decision made by poachers. But poachers aren’t the only possible threats. Others include habitat loss,  fragmentation, and overgrazing. Habitat loss is caused by new farms being built. With the assistance of Save the Elephants and Ivory Ella, these threats become less of an issue. They spread awareness and let you know what you can do to aid in the fight for elephants. For more information on how to help save the elephants, visit the link below: Save the Elephants

~ Sarah

Good Shoes for a Good Cause


Think about all of the shoes sitting in your closet right now… Can you imagine living without any shoes? Unfortunately, for children living in less fortunate communities, this is a reality. But the company TOMS strives to change this. One sale means more than just new shoes for a customer; it means a new pair of shoes for a person in need.

TOMS was founded by Blake Mycoskie, who while traveling in Argentina, discovered the hardships of children living without shoes. Blake knew right away he had to help. Then came the idea to create TOMS. The catchphrase of the brand is, “one for one”. This is because the idea of the company was that for every purchased pair of shoes, another pair of new shoes would be sent to a child in need. What started as a simple idea, soon became a booming business that helped children in many developing countries. The idea of TOMS supports the idea of helping others in need and advancing the opportunities for children and communities all around the world.

Along with providing shoes to those in need, the company offers additional services that are very important to the lives of others. For example, TOMS sells eyewear, and with each purchase, customers have the opportunity to help restore sight to people who need it. Also, with each purchase of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee, they help deliver clean drinking water to places who don’t have any. TOMS sells bags inspired by the different cultures of the villages and communities they help, and with a purchase of one bag, they provide a safe birth for a mother and baby who require it.

TOMS is a simple but great way to give to others who need it. Next time you are at the store and see a TOMS product, think about the good it could do for someone around the world and consider helping them out with a simple purchase. Every time you put on those shoes, you will think of the good that YOU have done for a person in need.


Alzheimer’s- a progressive, incurable disease


More than 3 million people each year are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This is a progressive disease which means that the symptoms of it become worse and worse over time. It can start out as simple as forgetting where your car keys or glasses are. However, it can escalate to the point where people can’t recognize their loved ones, speak, or perform other body functions that are necessary in order to survive. This is an effect of the death of nerve cells and loss of tissue throughout the brain.

The non profit organization, Alzheimer’s Association, has a mission of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s through the advancement of research, providing and increasing support for all those affected, and reducing the risk of severe Alzheimer’s through the advocacy of brain health. Many of you reading have most likely heard of the lokai bracelets. These bracelets are made in all different colors and patterns to show support and raise awareness for different diseases and organizations. One bracelet which is purple, supports the Alzheimer’s Association. 10% of the net profit made by selling these purple bracelets is donated to that organization which brings them closer to fulfilling their mission. Speaking from the point of view of someone who has lost a loved one from Alzheimer’s and who also has a loved one who is currently living with the disease, it is greatly appreciated to see others supporting the same cause. Every penny counts when you’re trying to find a cure for a disease that causes people to not even recognize those who they’ve known for their entire lives.


One Last Wish

Make-A-Wish foundation is all about helping kids with life threatening diseases. The foundation started when a 7-year old boy named Chris Greicius was diagnosed with leukemia. From the beginning of his diagnosis, they knew he probably wasn’t going to make it. Chris had wanted to be a police officer, and Agent Tommy Austin was bound to make that happen. One day, Chris and his family were gifted with seeing a police motorcycle, helicopter, and a patrol car. Along with that, Chris even got a hat, a uniform, and his own badge. They even got Chris a small battery-operated motorcycle that he rode through cones to become an official Department of Public Safety officer. Four days after his dream came true, Chris passed away. Agent Tommy Austin says, “He was only seven years, 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man. Even though he was only a boy. I can tell you that because of meeting Chris, I am an entirely different man.” Ron Cox said the same thing. He said he didn’t fear death anymore, because he knew Chris would be there waiting for him.

After going to Chris’s funeral, members of the community  began to hear what they had done for him. This is when they thought every kid should deserve this. That summer, a group of people came together and made it official, the Make-A-Wish foundation. By the following spring, they had made $2000 and were able to grant their first official wish. The first Wish kid, Frank Salazar, had three wishes. He wanted to be a fireman, go to Disneyland, and ride in a hot-air balloon. With the help of the organization, all of Frank’s wishes came true. The day he came back home, he was sent to the hospital, where he passed away later that night.

Currently, in 2016, more than 270,000 children in the US have had their wishes granted. Make-A-Wish even has a fundraising lacrosse team here in CT. Each player on the team has a goal to raise $500, which all goes to help kids experience one last great thing. In my opinion, Make-A-Wish is a fantastic organization and it helps so many kids get that one last chance to do something remarkable. If make-A-Wish wasn’t a foundation, then so many kids wouldn’t be able to have their dreams come true. When kids are on their trip, it helps them forget that they have a life-threatening illness. I believe that everyone should live life to the fullest, and Make-A-Wish gives kids that option.


How do you Treat Autism?

It was reported on May 15, 2015 in Brookfield, Wisconsin that a 13 year old female with autism was left alone locked in her basement by her guardians. In addition, another report goes into greater depth telling that the Waukesha County Department had received concerns from the girl’s teacher, peers, and neighbors about her life at home, but the department didn’t listen. Later resulting in this young girl being treated like an animal; living in a cold dark basement wearing a diaper and not being allowed to go near any furniture. Additionally, the child spent her time there from 6 pm to 6 am while being called stink by her mother. Even though the County Department had to go to the house several times due to claims of child abuse and neglect, the police could not charge the parents. This is just one case of children with autism being mistreated.

In my honest opinion, people with autism should not be treated with less importance or respect. Nobody really knows that I have a brother who has autism and he is picked on for having it. Why must people be so cruel and careless? This is because they simply have no life. There is no other answer, these people clearly have no heart to feel for these people or a brain to even imagine the struggles and hardships people have because of their disabilities. This might be just me, but I can tell when someone is pretending to be friends with a person with autism, and that must be the worst to do to somebody. Like seriously, who does that? Surprisingly a lot of people actually do this horrible act, and maybe you are one of them. But I will tell you, being friends, and I mean actual friends with someone with a disability is probably the most greatest thing you’ll ever do. This will bring a smile to their face and maybe even yours. For instance, my brother gained a friend about four years ago and now they enjoy every moment together doing fun and sometimes stupid stuff.


Soup Kitchen

In 1981, hunger became a common issue in Waterbury’s downtown area. To help stop people hunger, Father Cascia established a soup kitchen in Waterbury’s downtown Hispanic area. Every day people from local organizations and churches come to volunteer and help feed the hungry citizens of Waterbury.  This soup kitchen is dedicated to helping people in any way possible, they even offer referral services in the time of need for a job. People are open to financially support the soup kitchen or even give food donations. Over one hundred people come to eat there everyday for breakfast and lunch.

About a month ago, my cousins and I volunteered to help out at the soup kitchen through our local church. We arrived there at about 8:00am and people were already waiting outside in a massive line. Once my cousins and I got into the kitchen we started cutting chicken and potatoes. I was surprised how industrial the kitchen looked and that so much food was being cooked. All of the people were very nice, and extremely thankful. It felt good to help people. Working at the Soup Kitchen put my life and what I should be thankful for into so much perspective. I realized that I should be happy to get new clothes, or have a bed to sleep in. It made me think of how much my friends and family have, like to be able to go to school, or even have a phone. I mean, we all take things for granted sometimes, but it feels good to take a step back and realize what we all have. Going to the soup kitchen was a great experience to realize how much more thankful everyone should be.



Christmas Miracle

At WestJet, workers set up a box with a seemingly virtual santa on a screen, asking passengers for one particular flight what they would like for Christmas. The workers who were listening in took notes and then went out shopping for all of those things. Later, the passengers had gotten off the plane and were waiting for the luggage carousel to start. When it did, the first things that came out was not their luggage, but packages containing what each of them asked for, for Christmas. Not a single wish was left out, even the big screen TV and android tablet were given.

I think that this is just absolutely astounding, in a good way. It’s incredible that workers at an airport plus some volunteers would do this for 250+ people. It was nice to see some of them crying from happiness. Some lucky people got flights home for the holidays. I think that it is sweet of the volunteers and workers to do something so extreme. The airport surprise was truly a Christmas miracle and, I think, thing like that should be done more often, especially for the poor.


Amazing Gift for Bat Kid


The city of San Francisco raised approximately $105,000 for a little boy named, Miles Scott, who is suffering from leukemia, a dangerous cancer. Much of the money was used to buy sound systems and video screens so that the huge crowd could see and hear Miles. Miles had one wish and that was to be a Superhero.  His favorite Superhero was Batman so “Make A Wish Foundation” took notice and planned a special day for him. On November 15, 2013 the foundation rented out a part of San Francisco and replicated it to look like Gotham City. The crowed gathered to see 5 year old Miles Scott, aka, “bat kid” receive a giant chocolate key for the city. Soon this amazing event captured national attention and “bat kid” became a star.

After reading this article I felt a  very heartwarming feeling which I am sure the people in the city of San Francisco felt as well. I hope this story is noticed by others who will be inspired to then want to help sick people in our world. It is special moments like Miles experienced that mean so much to a person who is struggling to live and may not live long enough to enjoy a full life. I am very grateful for what “Make A Wish Foundation” did for this young boy and to cross the line by making even San Francisco look like Gotham City and raised all this money just to make a kids wish come true. Not only was this a great thing to do but imagine how happy Miles must have been to feel like a superhero and save the day.But I also hope he is saved from cancer himself. This story was so cool and amazing that my family and I made a donation to the “Make a Wish Foundation” so they could continue to make these special days for young children suffering from cancer. Now, what can you do?



Lights of Hope: Volunteering and Dancing

As many Cheshire residents know, Lights of Hope is just around the corner.  The whole town comes together to support the Pettit family, whose house was set on fire, and took the mother and two daughters along with it.  Neighborhoods make luminaries made up of white paper bags with a candle inside.  It is quite a beautiful sight to drive around town and see the rows of lights on the curbs.  When November comes around I get really excited. My church, the First Congregational Church, places the luminaries all around the green, and I volunteer to set up the luminaries and place them on the walkways and sidewalks.  I also help set up packages of luminaries to send to neighborhoods for them to set up.  You can do this too!

The thing that I am most excited about for this upcoming Lights of Hope is the performance by Rhythm Dance Academy.  I will be performing, and I am very excited.  Between 1 and 3 at the high school, you can see dances performed in the styles of jazz, modern, hip-hop and lyric.  We have been working on our performances since the beginning of September, so we are more than prepared.  The performances will give publicity to the studio, and perhaps we will get new students. Most of the dances will be done by the competition team, and will be fully performed at competitions next spring.  This is the first time that Rhythm will be performing in Cheshire for more than just our parents, so that is especially exciting.  So, as November 9th rolls around, try to see if there is any volunteer work that can be done for Lights of Hope.  Also, make sure you come to Cheshire High on the 9th to watch Rhythm Dance Academy perform.  You won’t regret it!


Seeing The Good In So Many People

Kylie Edwards. Credit: Band Together 4 Kyle

My cousin Kylie is a 3 year old little girl.  She was recently diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma. On August 24th, there was a benefit held for Kylie at Paws Pet Resort and Spa in Cheshire. Our whole family was there to help out. There was a pasta dinner, live music, a raffle,  bouncy house, and a magician there to entertain guests. Many of the guests won great prizes from the raffle. Guests bought tickets to this event, and many people who could not attend, donated in the mail. About 250 people came to the fundraiser and about 16,000  dollars was raised in total at this event to help Kylie’s family with some of her medical expenses. Joe and Robin Whitright are the owners of Paws. They were very generous to let us have this fundraiser at the place where they work. They helped a lot with setting up, cleaning up, and planning for the fundraiser.

I think that having this fundraiser was a great way to raise money for Kylie, in a fun and entertaining way. Considering the amount of money that was made during this event, I would call it a success. Was Kylie’s family happy with the way the fundraiser went? Yes they were. Her whole family thought that many of the guests were entertained and had a great time at this event. Kylie’s family now has more money and support to pay for her medical expenses or anything else Kylie needs. For me, it was wonderful to see so many people help out someone they didn’t even know.

~Laura Thomas